FNPW Koala Projects

  • YEAR: 2009
  • STATE: National
  • FOCUS AREAS: Saving Species/SDG 15: Life on Land

The Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife funds numerous projects to conserve one of Australia’s most iconic species, Koalas. Koala populations in Queensland, New South Wales and Australian Capital Territory are listed as vulnerable. These Koalas are at huge risk because of threats like urban expansion, habitat loss, disease, vehicle strike, predation from dogs, and susceptibility to drought and climate change.

We must act today to ensure our children have a chance of seeing Koalas in the wild, rather than only in a picture book.

FNPW support

Our many Koala based projects have been funded through the generous donations from FNPW supporters across Australia and beyond.

Project overview

Once widespread across Australia, koala numbers have declined over the last twenty years with some populations dropping by 80%. In NSW, QLD and ACT they are now declared as a ‘vulnerable’ species as they continue to suffer serious decline nationwide.

The koala population on the Koala Coast (east coast QLD) has had an estimated 80% drop between 1996 and 2014 – resulting in fewer than 40,000 koalas left in the wild.

In the last 100 years approximately 80% of Australia’s eucalypt forests have been destroyed. As Eucalyptus trees are the only source of food for koalas, this is causing serious repercussions. This, along with the effects of drought, is causing koala numbers to dwindle.

Koalas are also facing the growing threat of climate change, diseases, domestic dog attacks, bushfires and road accidents. In the period of 1997 to early 2011, an average of almost 300 koalas were killed each year by motor vehicles in south east QLD. To combat the continuing decline of Koalas, the Foundation for National Parks & Wildlife (FNPW) have been committed to funding and supporting koala conservation projects for many years. Ian Darbyshire, CEO of FNPW, acknowledges the decline stating that “this is an iconic Australian animal that needs our help right now.”

“We have been involved in many different initiatives to preserve the habitat and survival of this beautiful species. The Koala Community Planting initiative is just one of the many projects that encourage communities and locals to lend a helping hand towards koala conservation. The initiative involved planting 5000 native plant species to extend the habitat of vulnerable koala populations. Another project, The Plant a Tree for Me initiative ran for four months across three parklands with 140 volunteers planting over 3,200 seedlings including 300 koala food source trees. These community grown plants have allowed koalas to safely travel, feed, find mates, and raise their young,” says Ian.

FNPW have also been involved in another project that focuses on inoculants research. The project was created after discovering one third of koalas died within 12 months of relocation. The project found that inoculants aim to provide koalas with gut microbes needed to digest different chemicals found in eucalyptus in the new habitat areas. Koalas now have a larger chance of survival once being translocated because of the newly discovered research.

Koala Case Study – Increasing Habitat for Queensland’s Koalas

Thanks to kind donations, since 2009 FNPW has supported increases in koala habitat in the Redland City, QLD through community tree plantings. The plantings have been extending corridors within which koalas can safely travel, feed, find mates, and raise their young. Community ownership has also been encouraged as locals are invited to plant trees and learn about koalas.

Before the plantings, fewer Koalas could survive in the area, and were at higher risk of being hit by cars or attacked by dogs as they travelled further afield in search of food. Now their habitats are expanding so they can have a brighter future in the Redlands.

Just a few of the Koala Conservation Projects FNPW has funded:

  • Impact of Bushfires on Koalas – NSW
  • Community Tree Plantings for Koalas – QLD
  • Otway Koala habitat research – VIC
  • Research on the movement of Koalas back into severely burnt forest – NSW
  • Koala habitat community grants – QLD
  • Koala Tree Choice research – NSW
  • The Great Koala Count citizen science project – National
  • Is Port Macquarie a Koala Genetic Hotspot? – NSW
  • Southern Highlands koala satellite tracking and conservation – NSW
  • Improving survival rates for translocated Koalas – VIC


FNPW supports projects across Australia. In the spirit of reconciliation the we acknowledge the Traditional Owners of Country and recognise their continuing connection to land, waters and culture.

Image Courtesy of Carol Carter and Allan Chawner


The project is ongoing.

This project was funded by FNPW in 2009.

Photo credit: Doug Gimesy


FNPW is the lead organisation for this project.

Related Projects

Redlands Koala planting

Thanks to your support, koala habitat in Redlands is increasing through community tree plantings. The plantings extend corridors within which koalas can safely travel, feed, find mates, and raise their young.

Great Otway NP Koala translocation

Thanks to your support, Koalas translocated to new habitats will have better survival rates, due to research into inoculants.

Koala Tree Planting

Over the past 20 years more than 70% of the Manna Gum community has been lost and without intervention we will lose this unique and rare habitat type, along with the koalas and many other plants and animals that rely on it.

Genetic Code Of Koalas

A team of Australian and international scientists, led by Professor Rebecca Johnson, Director of the Australian Museum Research Institute and Professor Katherine Belov, University of Sydney, have made a significant break-through successfully sequencing the full koala genome. Considered to be the most complete marsupial genome sequenced to date, it is in terms of quality, on par with the human genome.